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Petition launched to save Norwich sports centre

The sports hall at Wensum Lodge in Norwich.

The sports hall at Wensum Lodge in Norwich.

Archant © 2010

More than 100 people have added their names to a petition calling for the sports hall at Wensum Lodge in Norwich to be saved.

Norfolk County Council closed the sports hall at the King Street venue in December, claiming it could not afford the maintenance costs to keep it open.

But the council already admitted it blundered over the repair costs, overestimating the price tag by £120,000.

Now a group of users have started a petition calling for the hall to be re-opened while a proper investigation into the council’s reasons for the closures is conducted – and why a decision was made without any consultation.

Roger Mason, from Paine Road in Heartsease, who started the petition, said: “A few of us have got together to fight the closure, or at least keep using the hall while it sits there empty, as it will for the foreseeable future.

“We are asking that the decision is put to proper public scrutiny and that the hall remain open while this takes place.”

Questioning the council’s reasoning, he said the centre made a profit, the cost of repairs would not be as great as claimed and it seemed strange to close it when the government is urging people to stay 
active.

The Friends of Wensum Lodge had agreed to run the separate squash courts until the end of March and chairman Peter Hoadley confirmed agreement has been reached for the group to keep running them beyond that, with a review every three months.

In the meantime, the county council’s property management company NPS has been talking to the Hewett School about creating squash courts at its site.

A feasibility study is being worked on, which is likely to be presented to the governors at the end of next month.

A county council spokeswoman added: “The sports hall and King Street stores site isn’t being marketed yet.

“It’s important that we maximise the value that we receive from the sale of the site in order to make the money received go as far as possible in funding other projects and services, including the squash courts at the Hewett School.

“Because of the current state of the property market the time isn’t right at the moment, and there is work ongoing to investigate possible future uses of the land and what permissions would be required for them.”

The petition has been set up at http://epetition.norfolk.public-i.tv/epetition_core/view/wensumlodgesportshall

What are your views? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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